Provide the search you need;
within a quick turn-around time;
the right price.
What isa "Patent Search" ?
A search of the prior art relating to a proposed new development is an early step and key aspect of the process of obtaining a patent. When properly done, it can save the inventor/company thousands of dollars and/or several months of time in the patent office, by enabling your patent guy to draft claims of appropriate scope at the onset. Lots of folks want to cut corners and save a few hundred bucks and skip the search. This is a mistake, as it essentially guarantees more time in the patent office, so you save a few hundred bucks up front, only to pay more dearly later.
While one obvious purpose of the search is to determine whether an invention is new or not before an inventor invests time and $$$ in marketing products and/or services, a more important (and often overlooked) purpose is to determine the breadth of patent claims we can reasonably anticipate to be found allowable by the Patent Office on a patent application filed for the invention. If it is determined with reasonable probability that a proposed new invention appears novel over what was known previously ("prior art"), the search results enable the writing of claims of the proper scope in view of the prior art to obtain the broadest coverage possible, while minimizing the probability of rejection based on the contents of prior art previously unknown to the applicant.
If claim language that is likely to be found allowable is broad enough to provide an inventor with a sustainable competitive advantage, then it is usually a good idea to file for a patent. Proper claim drafting depends on the search.
A decent US Patent search, as of March 2010 typically runs at least about $ 600 on the bare bones bottom end, and around a couple thousand $$ on the upper end, frequently. On an invention of minimal complexity, I'd expect to pay about $ 750. My client John VanDyke from Kalamazoo told me in 1993 he was charged $ 5500 by a law firm in Michigan, and all he got for his money was a patent search. So, there are those who, in my opinion, overcharge. But there's also those who undercharge, which may be worse. I'd be leery of anyone offering patentability searches for much less than about $ 500. Consider what John Ruskin (1819-1900) said:
"It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse
to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that is all.
When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the thing you
bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of
business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it cannot be done. If
you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if
you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."
REFERENCES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
Provisional, Utility, or Design Patent Applications - Yes, we perform patent searches. But, we also can help you with any part or all of your patenting needs, as we also write and prosecute patent applications and have an extremely high success rate. Our fees are among the most reasonable out there. We can help at every step of the way, from conception of your idea to the day we get you the patent from the government.
Email questions to:
Chris Whewell, MS
Western Patent Group
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